There are so many crucial structures in and around our spine, and when conservative care options can’t help you get back to a pain-free way of living, surgery may become necessary. Even though surgeons are mastering their techniques and operations are getting smaller and less taxing on the patient, you’re going to have to go through a significant rehab in order to make the fullest recovery after your spine surgery. In almost every case, part of that recovery involves physical therapy.
The reason physical therapy is recommended following almost every spinal procedure is because it can provide exactly what your spine needs after an operation. We explain why PT is so helpful and what it can help your spine achieve in today’s blog.
How PT Helps After Back Surgery
After spine surgery, many people go through a similar path back to full health. They start their journey in a recovery room, then they start some simple walking movements, then they gradually increase activity until they are cleared to return to work, and then finally they keep working until they can resume all normal physical activities. And while the natural healing process of the body helps with some of this, what drives this journey is the strengthening and structural recovery you achieve through physical therapy.
Let’s look at this path from the beginning and see how physical therapy helps your recovery along. As you first transition out of bed and to simple movements, your physical therapist will help you learn how to stand, sit and move in a manner that won’t stress or re-injure your recovering spine. It’s essential to get this understanding of safe and basic movements, because your spine is at its weakest rights after surgery, so non-stressful movements are key.
As you continue to heal, your physical therapy sessions continue to grow alongside you. Your PT will develop a routine that exercises, stretches and strengthens your spine, all without interrupting the healing process. Some of the muscles and soft tissues in your spine have been weakened as a result of the surgical incision or from years of repetitive strain, so it’s important to restrengthen all these structures because they play a pivotal role in supporting your spine. Your back may be surgically reconstructed, but if the supportive structures around your spine are weak, you’re at a heightened risk for re-injury, and that’s what we hope to avoid.
Next, your PT can help with your return to work. We’ll ask about your job duties and create a PT routine that readies you for the challenges of the workplace. We understand how important it is for your to get back to continue earning a living, but we also want to avoid re-injury, so we’ll keep strengthening your recovering spine until we’re confident it can handle your return to work.
Flexibility & Range-of-Motion
Finally, we’ll keep improving your flexibility and range of motion until you’re back to full health and cleared for everyday activities. We’ll also teach you some tricks for keeping your spine strong long after you’ve left our office for the last time, because although we love having you as a client, hopefully you’ll never need to return because of a reaggravation of your original spine problem. We’re with you every step of the way because we know how important physical therapy is to ensuring you make the fullest recovery possible.
For more information, or to set up an appointment with a physical therapist at OrthoRehab Specialists, give us a call today!